Saturday, May 11, 2013

GE 13

So it’s almost one week after GE 13.
Not sure whether the result was the best outcome.
I volunteered myself to become PACABA, non-partisan, and ensured I tried my best to make sure it’s a free and fair election, especially at my polling station.
2 weeks prior to GE 13, I attended a 4-hour PACABA workshop by Tindak Malaysia, an election watchdog NGO. It was very informative, and the trainers were really good in what they do, clear and exact in the issues and details, and I would say, Tindak Malaysia did a fantastic job for all Malaysians in the running-up to GE 13. The knowledge and confidence of voter rights should even be implanted in every living soul in this country.
I sent in my name to volunteer myself at my hometown, willing to contribute anything for a clean and fair election.
2 days before GE 13, late at night, I received a call stating I was the Ketua PACABA for my school. Quite astonished at first to be honest. I thought they should had presented this huge responsibility to more experience people. I am a first time voter anyway.
I guess manpower was scarce. Not much choice and not willing to burden the election machinery, I took the job both hands with full commitment.
I was willing to try my best, and give everything I can muster.
And Tindak Malaysia’s training boot camp actually turned out more effective than those of the candidate’s party.
The Big Day itself was a challenge. People from all walks of life cramped into the polling station, a religious school. The morning crowd was jaw-dropping. I guess people were worried the ghost will vote on their behalf? We were told to vote early.
I was at the polling station from 6.30am till 11pm at night. I managed to cast my vote at the nearby school during lunch time without much fuss.
So were most of my fellow Polling Agents.
The scene of one of our polling agent - Yoke Boon, diligently counter-checking our voter list with the Ketua Tempat Mengundi will forever stay with me.
Good job peeps!
Crowd control was an issue. I thought the SPR would have fare better if they could have more signages, and directories to explain the stations and relevant counters. I could see many people are still confused with the system.
Many elder electorates at my polling station were predominantly Chinese, speaking major dialects like Hokkien and Cantonese. My half-past-six Cantonese actually worked.
At the end of the day, I became the crowd coordinator, guide and translator instead.
Oh it was quite hard holding back, seeing old folks, visibly immobile, needing walking aid, took small steps towards the polling station, with assistance from their family members. I tried my best to allow all vehicles with old folks into the school compound, to be as near as possible to Saluran 1 (for old people).
Every step they took, their bodies tremble and shake, with the determination in their eyes to cast their votes, doing their part as a responsible citizen in a democratic country.
For the first time in many years, I felt so proud to be a Malaysian, caught in the twilight and midst of uncertainty in the 21st century.
One small step towards the class room, one big step for Malaysia's future.
The SPR voting system is actually quite perfect to be honest. It’s just that, the implementation lacks the determination.
Then, there is the critical period of counting the votes. The best polling agents I had were the ones choosen to witness the vote counts. I myself went in one of the classrooms as a Counting Agent. 
I had a good session with my adjacent political party's Counting Agents. We discussed rationally about ballot papers which were 50-50.
Nothing personal.
All the Ketua Tempat Mengundi (KTM) followed the books, and were all quite professional, being non-partisan when dealing with issues and related matters. I have to say good job to all the SPR officials and KTM.

So at the end of the day, we managed to collect all the necessary and critical documents.
I came to understand that some polling stations, especially in Pahang and Terengganu, weren’t that fortunate.
I am puzzled why to other polling stations find it so hard to acquire these documents, because by the rules, it’s the rights of the candidates.
I really do hope the SPR will follow-up with the appeals of fraud and irregularities.
So at the end of the day, what we, the hard-working polling agents got were a bottle of mineral water, some bread, and huge pride, great satisfaction that we contributed and ensured that our polling station was fair and clean.

Overall, I have no doubt that the country needs more young, educated, well-versed, rational and non-partisan PACABAs. These volunteers are the eyes and years behind the walls, where battles are fought.
I’ve tried my best as a Malaysian.
Have you?